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April - Sowing and Watering

in Andalucia, Spain
By Nick Nutter | 8 Jul 2019
Red onions Beetroot Chantenay Carrots Courgette Iceberg lettuce Potatoes

I love April. We are officially into spring, the ground is nice and warm, seeds germinate quickly and plugs take almost overnight. It is just as well; we have lots to do this month. Before we look at all the jobs, just a quick update on the herb garden, we have planned and planted over the last three months.

The shrubby herbs, sage, rosemary, thyme and marjoram are all showing healthy new growth. They can be cut as and when you need them now. Try to garner all your herbs in the cool of the early morning for best flavour. Of the perennial herbs, the mint is growing strongly and can be used as required. The ginger, turmeric, lemon grass and horseradish still have some way to go before they are ready. The chives will be ready this month whilst the fennel, lovage, hyssop and sorrel are only just getting started. The annuals were only sown at the back end of March so we will have to be patient. The herb garden occupies about 80 square metres of ground, so I need some sort of path to reach the herbs in the middle. I found some round concrete slabs in a skip, all about 1/2 metre diameter — just the job. You can use old flooring tiles or even wooden planks. I prefer something that can be moved because I will, inevitably, want to change the plan as the garden develops.

Now to April. You should be sowing seed in well-dug ground. Everything this month can go into ground that was manured or composted for a previous crop. Keep the soil damp until the seeds germinate and then cut back the watering so that the surface dries out between doses of water. On a drip feed, one hour per night is enough at the moment. Sow beetroot, a variety called Detroit 7 works well, and carrots. I sow Chantenay at this time of year. I think they are the best-flavoured carrots ever. The first sowing of string beans should be made during this month.

Many plants can be planted as plugs and I prefer this method to seeds for some plants such as lettuce and red onions, both of which should go in now. You should also be putting in potatoes. I have tried various English varieties with little success; they just cannot cope with the heat. It is good that I enjoy the plain old Spanish reds and whites, the variety names of which are lost in the mists of time. The whites are particularly suitable for salads. They are nice and waxy and can be dug whilst young for wonderful sweet new potatoes. The reds are floury, perfect for mash, chips and roasting.

While you have your spade in hand dig over a good patch and throw in as much compost and manure as you can lay your hands on. This will be for your butternut squash, marrows, courgettes, melons and cucumbers, the seeds of which can be sown anytime during the month. Cover the compost with a few centimetres of soil and make small mounds at 1-metre spacings. Put two seeds 5 cms deep in each mound. The flattish seeds should be sown on their sides rather than flat to the ground. Don’t ask why, it’s the way my grandad did it and it worked for him. Water well and then do not water again until the seeds germinate. Remove the weaker seedling and water again. Let the ground dry out between waterings. It is a fine balance watering the cucurbit family. Too much and they rot, too little and they die back. When the first flowers set, you can increase watering. If you think about it, a cucumber or squash is just packed with water.

Don’t put your spade away; it will be busy next month as well.

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Phoenicians in Andalucia | Where the Phoenicians came from
Phoenicians in Andalucia | The First Civilisations in Spain
Phoenicians in Andalucia | Phoenicians meet the Iberians
Phoenicians in Andalucia | Phoenician expansion in Andalucia
Phoenicians in Andalucia | Competition between Greeks and Phoenicians
Phoenicians in Andalucia | The Carthaginians triumph
Amphorae, the container of choice for 4000 years
The Barbary Pirates scourge of the Andalucian Coast
Romans in Andalucia | Rome takes over from Carthage
Romans in Andalucia | Rome subdues the Iberians 205 BC to 139 BC
Romans in Andalucia | Pax Andalucia between 100 BC and 180 AD, the Romanisation of Baetica
Romans in Andalucia | Decline and Fall of the Romans
History of Roman Mining in the Rio Tinto area
History of Andalucia | The Zanclean Deluge
Christopher Columbus, Life, Voyages and Death
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Mithraism - a Roman mystery
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Terminology, Cultures, Epochs and Eras
Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short
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Romans in Andalucia | Roman Industry in Andalucia
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Neanderthal to Modern Human Transition 45kya to 25kya
The Neolithic Expansion 5800 – 4700 BC
A Shaky Start for Modern Humans 25 kya - 16 kya
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The Neolithic Expansion 9500 - 5800 BC
From Muslim to Moriscos
Iberian Culture and Society
The Tartessians and the Fabled Land of Tartessos
Muslim Invasion of Hispania 711 AD
Muslim Occupation of al-Andalus 711 - 756 AD
The Independent Emirate 756 – 929 AD
Caliphate of Córdoba 929 - 1031 AD
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